Thursday, September 30, 2004

Another photo with the new lights

Here's another one. Hopefully I won't burn you faithful blog readers out.

I'm lovin' these lights. I just need to get a backdrop and I'm seriously ready to start shooting.


Got my lights

Well, the Alien Bee 800's came in today. I also got the large (36x48") PhotoFlex LiteDome softboxes. I don't have my backdrop yet so this shot is with the wallpaper in the background. I love the setup. Now I just need to set 'em up and charge someone to make their picture. ;)

I reposted this blog entry after applying NeatImage to the photo. It gives it a softer, more feminine feeling.


Multiple post day - science and politics

While I'm at the computer I figure I'll get another post out of the way. I noticed on the news this afternoon that Mount St Helens may erupt and that the USGS has scientists on-hand to review the activity. Something that one scientist said intrigued me and I happen to think that his approach would surprise many people. His comment when asked something regarding what the scientists knew or could predict was along the lines of how little they know currently and why that makes this opportunity so exciting because they can learn. Now I think that often people make appeals to scientific research or scientists opinions because they think that lends credence to their position. In this example I think it would be equally accurate to say that a scientists position may be more informed by evidence but this his/her conclusions may not be more mature or accurate. In fact, during periods of testing and evaluation I don't think its the predictions that make a good scientist; I think its observation comparison and correlation that help to build an experiential basis for someone having something valuable to say as a scientist. I further think that its the peer review process that hones those individuals thought processes to produce people who are generally careful in their assertions and demanding in their evalation process.

Second topic for this post is that I'm a total goob. I'm patriotic like a mofo (you'll know what I meant to say if you've ever talked to me around the guys). I find that discussions of law in general and our system of government stimulate me mentally. It impresses me when our system doesn't have loopholes built into it. I like that our government is dynamic and reactive (not reactionary) but I also like to see that the idyllic machine is sometimes more important than the pieces which comprise it (gestalt theory). I don't like partisan activity or values but I do like democracy. Democrats and Republicans be damned for how they all hang together to protect themselves. I like the foundation of the law rather than the corruption that centuries of bureaucracy produce. Still, you have to take the bad with the good. The system is as good as any other. Its weakness is that it depends on the selfless choices and activities of the individual and often as idividuals (whether speaking of myself or of some mayor, judge or representative) we choose selfishly rather than corporately. I don't have a problem with not seeing eye-to-eye with someone who thinks that the needs of the many are served while still protecting the rights of the individual when some elected official decides to come down on the other side of an issue. Its when that official just doesn't seem to care or has a vested interest or is swayed to a position by loyalty to a friend or partner rather than standing his/her ground and making a choice that represents a less popular or personally motivated solution that I get ticked off. Democrats, Republicans; not tons of difference between then in my opinion. They are both peopled by men and women who are governed by their emotions and given to promoting their own agendas. I'm afraid often the question you have to ask yourself is which agendas are most in line with my view of the world and how I'd like to see it become. Truth be told, its finances that shape the world as much as anything. If you want a voice in the world, make money. Make a lot and watch the people sidle up to you looking for a handout. Make $5 or 10 and its the guy at the stoplight who washes your windows with newspaper. Make $5,000,000 or 10,000,000 and its the guy in the gray wool suit asking if you'd like to support X candidate.

Ah, now see what I've done. I've gone from the nebulous and poetic beauty that is our legal system of government of the people, by the people and for the people and slid down to speaking more to the issue of the people who step into the roles that are engendered by the pedestrian shuffling of that same government as it tries to actually stand and move towards a goal. Its a beautiful thing when the object of your appreciation sits staring beautifully but when it realizes that it has to work to accomplish something some of the glossy dream is broken or at least cracked and the underlying guts are shown through misappropriation of funds, inappropriate conduct towards citizens or volunteers or self-serving votes. True, its not a perfect system but it is a good one that inspires me.

Thanks for reading,


It's a multiple post day - Dishwasher

Well, my wife ordered a new dishwasher a week or so ago. It was supposed to be delivered today and I, idiot that I am, offered to install it. My job was to (A) disconnect and remove the old dishwasher and (B) install the new one. Growing up I worked delivering washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, etc for my Dad's Sears store (it was a local catalog/merchant franchise place). Now in my memory I remember installing all those items back when I was 14, 15 and 16. I can remember having to rehang the door on a refrigerator because it came in opening the wrong direction. I remember untold gas grills that I put together for customers and that was for $0 back then. Delivery was $25 in those days but we'd take away their old machinery for them, too. Oddly I never remember installing a dishwasher by myself. I had just assumed that the hoses would be like the washers and dryers with rubber hoses and brass fittings and a washer in the middle. Ohhhhhh ho! Not even close. First off its 240 volts wired directly into the dishwasher. Then its copper tubing that snakes something like 10-15' around through the cabinets and behind the lazy susan corner cabinet. Then its all manner of crap when I screw up where the brass fitting mounts to the plastic plumbing. Ahhh, the joys of owning your own home and being dumb enough to do your own labor.

I was supposed to have removed the old one last night so that the guys could take it with them today and then I would replace it with the new one when I got home. Well, I completely forgot that today was the day and so I didn't do it last night, I was on the way in to work today and I was headed in early for a change. Called the wife to say "Good morning." and she asks "Did you remember to remove the old dishwasher?" Here I go back to the house and try to remove the dishwasher only to make a huge mess. Now I need to cleanup and still don't have the darned thing out. She calls to say the delivery guys are on the way and can I stay. Sure, what the heck, its just my job, right? They get here and the guy takes a look at what I've done to my house and graciously shows me how if I'd just done this and then that things would have been simple enough that even an idiot like me could do it. He was nice but I'm sure he was hiding a laugh in there somewhere; hell, I would have been. So, I disconnect the old one finally after screwing up the other pipe and cabinets and he and his partner carry the new dishwasher into the kitchen. He asks if the old one works and I say, "Sure. She just wanted a newer, quieter model." Hmmmm. Partly correct. She also wanted one in Bisque. Now don't ask me what the hell color bisque is but . . . yes you guessed it . . . after they're gone and she comes home to see her new dishwasher that her stupid husband is trying to install while still wearing most of the clothes that he had planned on wearing to work today she exclaims "Oh no! It's black! I ordered Bisque!" Had I remembered one of the reasons she wanted the new appliance, perhaps I could have stopped dude while he was here and said, "Oh, no, my good man. You've selected a black dishwasher and I'm sure my fashion conscious wife will have none of that since she obviously chose Bisque." Nope. I didn't. I slowly and calmly moved away from the Satanic contraption that has attempted every way to confound me and conspire against me and I told my wife that its not a problem and that I was sure the store could help out. Now I still have bare wires, screwed up water pipes and a gaping hole in my kitchen and the delivery men are returning tomorrow to bring my wife her lovely new Bisque dishwasher. Its no one's fault. Just some of the things that happen when I don't pay attention and leave a household task until the last minute I suppose. Just thought I'd share with you wonderful folks (or bored people).

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

More equipment - lights

Just took another plunge. I ordered a set of Alien Bees ( B800's along with Bogen-Manfrotto 13' light stands and LiteDome PhotoFlex large softboxes. I finally feel that I can consistently generate high quality photos. I'm ready to take a step into professional photography. So far I've done most of my work as a learning or artistic experience. Now I'm ready to work towards putting a studio in place. It'll take me some time to pay my way back out of the debt I've gotten into (or the debt that I want to get into to get the premium grade equipment that I want to use) but I think I'm ready to assume that responsibility. I went ahead and ordered the lights because I have a commissioned photoshoot coming up as well as a studio session where I would have had to rent lights anyway. I also have an on-location shoot to do for an organization where I'll be selling prints right on site. Hopefully I can pickup enough money between now and Christmas to offset most of the cost of the lights.

I know that the AB's aren't Broncolor, Profoto or Elinchroms (the lights for one of those brands cost as much as the whole setup I just ordered) but I think that they'll get me through until I recoup the cost of the AB's and then I can look at adding to the equipment locker. I'm looking forward to building a good little business.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, September 26, 2004

Photoshoot with a new subject - Brandi

Shot a set with a young lady with whom I hadn't worked before. Her name is Brandi and she's just joined (OMP # 126473).

Click the photo to see the rest of the shot from our session.

Thanks for reading,


Breathtaking Cinema

Wanna know how much of a goob I am? I loved Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Went to see that this weekend with my wife and WOW! The epic feeling that exudes from the use of darkness and negative space in the first 20 minutes of the film as well as from the oversized Gotham (New York) skyline is incredible. Everything feels larger than life. It's Art Deco poetry set to motion. Add to that atmosphere a dashing leading man, Joe Sullivan (Jude Law) and the most classical beauty of the present day theater, Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) and you've got a pretty cool film. It was well worth the $11 and the time for me. You really need to like the bigger than the screen, cheesy old cinema glamour of the 40's and 50's to enjoy this. It didn't hurt when in the first 15 minutes the giant robots were chasing Paltrow's character down the deserted New York street with lights and shadows that represent a time of day that just doesn't exist, Perkins stooped down, grabbed the seam of her skirt in her hands and ripped a slit that would allow her to run more easily. That slit exposed her lovely legs caressed by thigh highs with that little hint of restrained sexuality with a touch of lace at the top. Hmmmmm . . . OK. Maybe I liked the whole sexual atmosphere most of all. The setting for this film may have been a time that didn't exist anywhere except in my mind. The female lead wore deep colored lipstick, high heels (that she slides off and I swear I can at least imagine hearing the sound of the leather against those silk stockings), thigh highs and fitted skirts that remind you how she's a woman. Her hair was straight but with a few curls at the end. It wasn't 2 inches from her skull the way that women apparently chose to wear their hair now (yes, Mabel, that's hyperbole). It showed that she was a woman who took some time to get ready but ohhhhh, my oh my, she was the kind of woman that lead you to believe her getting ready would be worth being around for whatever she was getting ready for. In reality Jude Law's performance was a little flat. Giovani Ribisi (what a cool name for a guy that seems so totally American Little League baseball and t-shirts) gave a great performance but his was only a bit role. He did a good job but could realistically only help the film so much.

If you want a cool shot of hollywood glamour where you get some sexual tension without any overt sexuality (or much language as I remember) then this movie should fit the bill. If you expect deeply moving performances, ideas that challenge you philosophically or Matrix-style kung fu on a Hollywood budget then this ain't your show.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

New (Side) Job

You ever had someone who wouldn't normally carry on much of a conversation just hit you up out of the blue to talk about something? I was working on something with a person I see once ever few weeks and suddenly there was an interest in my photography hobby. That turned to discussion of other photography ideas and finally came full circle back to working on a collaborative effort that this person had come up with. I mentioned something along these lines to this person and asked how much I'd need to pay for his/her services several months ago but that had fallen by the wayside so I hadn't thought anything else about it. Now it looks like I have a good business opportunity. I think we have an idea that is marketable; it just remains for us to figure out how to market it and make money off of it. Perhaps you'll read about it in an upcoming BLOG entry if we get it going.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, September 21, 2004


I promise I have alot to say I just never take the time to update the blog. How remiss am I?

Canon, in light of recent leaks regarding its upcoming announcement, released specifications, product photos and sample output from its newest camera flagship: the 1Ds Mark II.

(review by

16.7 megapixels! Yeah, you read it correctly. It's suggested retail price is $7,999 but it will probably sell for between $7,000 and 7,500 from B&H Photo Video or Adorama (both very reputable businesses in New York). The camera that it supersedes is the older 11.1 megapixel Canon 1Ds. The older version can be found hovering between $4,000 and 5,000 used.

I'm wanting to make my purchase as soon as possible but who can afford to just drop $4,000-8,000 dollars with little to no return expected? Ahhh, the luxuries of the ludicrous.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, September 16, 2004

Sometimes it gets whelming

I haven't posted in two weeks. It isn't that I had nothing interesting going on or that I had no time. I just sometimes find it laborious to limit myself and I don't like to post such long blog entries that people have to fight through. Here's a condensed history:

Tennessee Volunteers looked impressive. They've maintained their winning tendancies over the last few years but they seldom looked impressive in doing so. Often they had to score alot in the final minutes of a game to make up a deficit or they ended up seeing a large lead shrink to almost nothing. Their first game of the 2004-2005 season was a heartening victory over UNLV where two true freshmen quarterbacks played. Both young men performed admirably and it looks like either will make a great leader on the field.

Couple of new photoshoots; you can see them at I like shooting portraits; its fun for me. I have a studio photoshoot scheduled for the first week in October. I wanted to schedule a trip to Savannah for an early fall beach session. I was going to meet a local model down there, bring along a model from my area and shoot a set for another model who would have been traveling up to the most haunted city in America but alas not everyone could make it. Now I'm changed and will be working my second studio shoot. I'm excited as it will be multiple models and while I will get some good individual shots and some hopefully solid fashion shots, I also hope to shoot some more artistically expresssive work. The kinda stuff that people look at and ask, "Why is that model over there holding that wand and that large stuffed frog" or something like that (it really depends on what props the model actually happens to be holding).

A friend came into town. A guy that Eric and I shared a bachelor pad with many years ago. Its fun hanging out with everyone but only for a little while. I'm just too staid. I like being at home and hanging out with the family. Last week Eric and I took our families out to the mall so the girls could play around the indoor playground while the women sat and talked. That was pretty fun. Sitting around playing StarWars (tm) Galaxies (tm) with 4 or 5 guys watching over your shoulder can become . . . boring. I'm glad to see the guys and hang out one night watching JK kill stuff in StarWars(tm) Knights of the Old Republic (tm) (KotOR) can be fun but it quickly pales beside going home with the family most nights and getting out to shoot a little once a week or so.

I'm almost finished with my project at work. Well, "finished" is a misnomer. I'm ready to turn it over to the users next week and let them start testing it for business rules, workflow and user interface. Yay!!!

Guess that's all.

Thanks for reading,